Interview The Wandering Hearts
British Underground Bootleg BBQ
September 15th 2018
Ahead of The Wandering Hearts headlining tour this Autumn I caught up with the band during American Fest in Nashville last month.
How are you enjoying being back in Nashville. It’s your second time isn’t it?
It feels amazing and really cool being here for Americana. It’s a totally different vibe to CMA week. We have really got to see more music and it really feels like part of the community, the Americans and the British. It’s been great fun.
The British Americana is really taking off isn’t it?
When the CMA fest was on people were really intrigued to understand what British country music was and CMA is so massive. There was such an excitement during CMA week. Our parents came over and said that the could feel the electricity in the city when they got off the plane. It’s the scale of it I think. This has more heart, it feels more like family at Americana fest. It’s nice to know so many faces from festivals and then you see them in Nashville. It’s dead cool.
Yes, I went into a record store earlier and as I opened the door Baylen walked out! I know he is here for the festival as I have seen him, but it was a bit surreal as he’s ‘from home’.
You’re just about to start you second headlining tour. Are you looking forward to it? What gigs are you looking forward to the most?
Literally all of them. I know that’s a cop out. It’s great because we are going to some cities we have been to before and we are doing different and larger venues, which is always a good sign of progress. But, we are also going to a lot of places that we have not played. It’s funny we seem to go a lot of the same cities for whatever reason. We’ve been to Scotland loads, Scotland loves our music. We are doing Edinburgh this time which is great we go to Glasgow more often than not. It will be great to get up there to these other places. We are going to Dublin for the first time. That is really exciting and we are going to have more musicians with us this time. We are just really looking forward to it.
You have Ruston Kelly supporting you as well!
Yes, we have Ruston Kelly, not sure how that happened, but we will go with it.
I saw him last night, that was a hot ticket! He was wonderful.
It’s so good that we have him, we also have Fiona Bevan, who is great. The other thing that is really exciting is that we are playing Islington Assembly Hall which was a kind of dream of ours to play. What is also exciting is the show element of our gigs. Now that we have more songs because we are writing more, we want to make something that feels more like a show. It’s the whole visual part of it and that is exciting to think of it like that. I think that when we did the first tour it was ‘can we remember the words?’ ‘Can we make sure that we balance levels’, ‘can we make sure that we do all the right things and the right time’. There is a confidence that comes with the knowledge that for some reason we get to do a second tour. How do we make the most of this so that we may be get a third and a fourth tour?
What is your favourite track on Wild Silence?
Tara: We probably have quite different ones. It depends on mood. I really like Iona which is the last track on the album and one of the only songs that didn’t come from personal experience. It was more talking about somebody, we had this vision of someone being in Viking times and a woman sending her husband out to sea and being alone on an island and wondering if he was going to return. I really love the escapism of that.
AJ: It’s funny, the more we are playing songs, the more I’m starting to enjoy different tracks for different reasons. I love all the tracks on the album and you always say this is my favourite or that is. Right now, I am enjoying Wild Silence a lot more now. That’s really giving me a kick at the moment, but it does vary a lot.
I must admit I don’t know a lot about all of you. I know about Tim as he did Superstar. Do you miss that part of it? The theatre part of it?
Tim: It took many, many, years in other bands to realise that I could maybe do something full time rather than an expensive hobby and while still doing a 9-5. I missed being in a band so much, this is why this came about really. It’s the creativity of being in a band that I love. I enjoy the writing process too much to not have creative input and it’s probably the same for the guys as well, doing the jobs you were doing before, wanting to create rather than doing other people’s stuff.
What is good is that we are all different ages and at different points in our lives, but at the same time at a point where we all needed something else. We needed for something to happen. We all knew where we wanted to go but we weren’t sure how to get there. When we met we connected as people and we were all in the same place at the same time. We are not eighteen, so it’s quite difficult to give everything else up to put everything in to it, but we all did. We packed in our jobs, nine to five’s, and anything else we were doing to keep a roof over our heads to stay in London.
Tim: For the record we are still trying to keep our roofs above our heads.
Chess: We have had opportunities that money can’t buy, but we are just starting out.
In music it is sometimes who you know and where you’re seen as well as the talent isn’t it?
We often say that! You have to understand that because there are so many amazing people that should be doing this as their full time jobs that aren’t. So we cannot possibly be better. You work really hard and then you get lucky. You have to keep going.
Marty was definitely the springboard that made the American ‘this stuff’ happen for us.
I think that was the second time that I saw you. I saw you with Brothers Osbourne in the March after C2C. It was an amazing gig at Cadogan Hall. I’ve seen you a few times since then.
You write all your own songs. You mentioned earlier about writing with other people, is that something that you want to do? Or you will do in the future?
We do a lot of that anyway. There are a lot of co-writing going on. Even if it is just someone to bounce ideas off who isn’t so invested in what we are trying to achieve. It’s nice to have an intermediary.
We have had some great co-writers we have worked with.
Coming over to Nashville where everybody talks about co-writing, it’s just the done thing, everyone is really open minded about it. It’s how great songs are made and structured. Back home co-writing has been a bit of a dirty word, it is changing though. In the mainstream commercial music industry they’ve always wanted to present artists as ‘be all’ ‘do all’ and not let the cat out of the bag at any point that there’s someone else helping them along the way. But it doesn’t work like that, music can’t work like that, it’s not sustainable. It’s a community. You’re forming relationships and people bring things out of you that you didn’t realise you had. Some people write and that’s what they do, that’s their strength and they don’t want to go on stage. In Nashville you see artists doing writers rounds and you hear them sing a song that you didn’t realise that they wrote, it’s amazing. Back home it’s not like that at all.
It’s starting to change but very slowly.
You hear a song on the radio and you think that is sounds like an Ed Sheeran song, and when you look the writers up it is always an Ed Sheeran song! He writes for everybody. But you can totally hear that but we don’t talk about it. ‘Is everyone writing like Ed Sheeran or is it by Ed Sheeran?’ Well it’s a bit of both. It is Ed Sheeran and everyone is writing in that style.
Is there a place that you’d like to play that you haven’t played yet?
We get asked this a lot, especially in America, what is the equivalent to The Ryman at home? The Royal Albert Hall is really the only place that springs to mind. Union Chapel is great and Red Rocks in Colorado.
AJ: I’d love to do the Troubadour in L.A.
Tim: Let’s do it next week?
There’s a place in Sweden called Dalhalla that is an amphitheatre in a former limestone quarry. It has amazing acoustics. A Swedish Red Rocks.
Who is your biggest influence, musically or otherwise?
Tim: Mine is A.J…..Ha ha.
Collectively when we first met Traveller from Chris Stapleton had just come out. He really wasn’t that well known in the UK. The four of us, who all have different tastes in music in some ways, were all just obsessed with this album. We started talking about it together, it’s played a part in our story and has influenced us. We would say ‘it would be really cool if we could write something like this, or if we had a song that had the same vibe as this….’. We have referenced it quite a lot and used it. Someone asked us about our favourite lyric and we wanted to say ‘every lyric that Chris Stapleton writes is my favourite lyric!”.
When we first met our A&R at Decca we had been listening to the album so much we had been jamming ‘Parachute’ our manager asked us to play that song and threw us in it. We said ‘No, we don’t know the song, we were just jamming’. But, we played it and ultimately got signed, it may have helped, who knows?
What’s the first song that you remember that you ever sung in front of an audience (paid or unpaid)?
Tim: Mine is Patience by Guns and Roses. My brother had a band at school (he is three years older than me), I was this chubby little kid with a bowl head he got me to sing because he didn’t want to sing. He played guitar, his friend was on drums and I sung. My voice was really high as my bits and pieces were still up there! I think that is a cool answer.
Chess: I was four years old, I remember it really well. I was asked to sing at my school concert at the end of term. I was in the baby school and this was for the big school. It wasn’t the done thing but my music teacher decided that I was going to sing. She got me up to sing in front of five hundred people and I sang ‘Maybe’ from Annie. There is a recording of it. Tara “Its so cute’.
Tara: Mine was Bright Eyes by Mike Batt.
Tim: The Wombles would have been cooler. Actually, the first song we all sung was probably Happy birthday but that doesn’t count.
A.J. The first song that I sung in front of an audience, I think I was 15 years old. I was too shy to sing in public before that point. A similar situation as Tim, a friend has heard me sing and landed me in it at a school concert with a thousand people. He told me that he had put my name down and that I was up next! It was either ‘Crazy Little Thing Called Love’ or it was the theme tune to ‘Desperado’ the Spanish one.
Thank you enjoy the rest of your trip and see you on tour.
For The Wandering Hearts tour dates and ticket details click on this link to our calendar.